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Legends of Wrestling: Hulk Hogan from Hulkamania to the nWo

By : WrestlingDotCom News Posted on

Most wrestling fans may be aware of the personal issues and outside of the ring life of Hulk Hogan. The following history of Hulk Hogan will focus on Hulk Hogan, the wrestler and all his great accomplishments in professional wrestling.

Hulk Hogan was born Terry Gene Bollea on August 11, 1953 in Tampa, Florida. Hogan is the son of Ruth and Peter Bollea. Hogan’s mother was a homemaker and dance teacher, and Hogan’s father was a construction foreman. Hogan was a pitcher in Little League Baseball and began watching professional wrestling at age 16. Hogan idolized “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes and was a regular attendee for events at the Tampa Sportatorium. One those events, Hogan focused on “Superstar” Billy Graham.

Hogan attended the University of South Florida, later dropping out. While spending most of his time at a local gym, Hogan met pro wrestler Mike Graham, son of pro wrestler and National Wrestling Alliance President, Eddie Graham. It was Hogan’s physical look that caught the attention of Jack and Gerald Brisco. Together the Brisco’s convinced Hogan to try out for professional wrestling. Being a long time fan, Hogan agreed. In 1976, Mike Graham introduced Hogan to Hiro Matsuda who with sarcasm asked Hogan about wanting to be a wrestler, and purposely broke one of Hogan’s legs and both his arms.

Within a one year period, Matsuda prepared Hogan for his first professional match against Brian Blair in Fort Myers, Florida on August 10, 1977. A short time following, Bollea wore a mask and took on the character “The Super Destroyer.” A few months after, Bollea joined Louie Tillet’s Alabama territory, where he teamed with Ed Leslie (aka Brutus Beefcake) and the team of Terry and Ed Boulder.

Hogan appeared on a talk show, where he sat beside Lou Ferrigno, star of the Incredible Hulk television series. The host commented how Bollea at 6ft 7in at 295 pounds resembled a small version of the Hulk. From this, Bollea began using the in ring name of Terry “The Hulk” Boulder.

By May 1979, Bollea had an opportunity to wrestle for the NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) World Heavyweight Championship. In June of that year, he won the NWA Southeast Heavyweight Championship in Alabama and Tennessee territories by defeating Ox Baker.

Hulk Hogan – World Wrestling Federation 1979 – 1980

In late 1979, Terry Funk introduced Bollea to then WWF Chief Vincent J. McMahon. McMahon wanted to give Bollea and Irish name, thus the name Hogan was born. He was given the opportunity to wrestle, as a heel, Bob Backlund for the WWF Championship.

Hulk Hogan New Japan Pro Wrestling 1980 – 1983

A lot of Hogan’s early success was in Japan. He first appeared in Japan May 13, 1980, while still under contract with the WWF. On June 2, 1983 Hogan was crowned the first International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP) tournament winner by defeating Antonio Inoki.

Hulk Hogan – Leaves the WWF and goes to the American Wrestling Association 1981 – 1983

After filming Rocky III against the wishes of Vince McMahon, Sr., Hogan left the WWF and made his debut in the American Wrestling Association with Johnny Valiant as his manager. This was short lived as fans began to love Hogan, thus the AWA booking team decided to turn Hogan babyface. Hogan became the companies top babyface for 1983. After several business, personal, and creative conflicts with AWA owner Verne Gagne, Hogan left the AWA and returned to the WWF, now owned by Vince McMahon, Jr. (Vincent K. McMahon).

Hulk Hogan returns to the WWF and the Birth of “Hulkamania” 1983 – 1993

Following the purchase of the World Wrestling Federation in 1982, Vince Jr. had big plans to expand the territory company into a nationwide promotion centered around Hogan as the company’s main superstar attraction. Hogan started as a heel, allied with Freddie Blassie. On the January 7, 1984 episode of Championship Wrestling, Hogan turned babyface by saving Bob Backlund from a three-way in ring assault. This storyline was short lived, as just less than three weeks later, Hogan won his first WWF Championship by pinning the Iron Sheik in Madison Square Garden. Following the win, commentator Gorilla Monsoon proclaimed “Hulkamania is here!” Hogan would begin referring to his fans as “Hulkamaniacs” during his interviews and introduced the training, prayers and vitamins.

Over the next years, Hogan became the face of professional wrestling as Vince McMahon pushed the WWF into the pop culture arena with the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection on MTV, brining in records house show attendance, pay-per view buys and big television ratings.

Hulk Hogan – First title reign 1984 – 1988

On the October 5, 1985 edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event, Hogan successfully defended the title against Nikolai Volkoff in a flag match.

Throughout 1986, Hogan successful defended the title against Terry Funk, Don Muraco, King Kong Bundy, Paul Orndorff and Hercules Hernandez. In 1987, Hogan was booked to defend the title against Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III at the Pontiac Silverdome in front of a record crowd of over 93,000 fans.

Hogan remained the WWF Champion for 1, 474 days (Four years and 13 days). He became the third longest running champion. In front of 33 million viewers on the February 5th edition of The Main Event, Hogan lost the title to Andre the Giant after a scam involving Ted DiBiase and referee Dave Hebner. As a result, the WWF title was declared vacant for the first time in company history. Hulk Hogan had other title wins from 1989-1992. He did lose the title to the Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI and also to the Undertaker at the 1991 Survivor Series.

Hulk Hogan Returns to the WWF and then leaves the company 1993 – 1994

Hogan returned to the WWF in January 1993, assisting his long time friend Brutus Beefcake from Money Inc. (Ted Dibiase and Irwin R. Schyster). At WrestleMania IX, Hogan challenged WWF Champion Yokozuna, defeating him to win his fifth WWF Championship. At the first annual King of the Ring Pay-Per View in June of 1993, Hogan defended the WWF Championship against Yokozuna. Yokozuna kicked out of Hogan’s signature leg drop finishing move and pinned Hogan after a blinding fireball shot from a “Japanese Photographer” (Harvey Wippleman in disguise). This would be Hogan’s last WWF Pay-Per View appearance. After August 1993, Hogan would sit out the remainder of his contract which expired later that year.

Hulk Hogan Makes History: Signs with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) 1994 – 2000

In June 1994, Hogan signed with Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling. Hogan began appearing on WCW TV in July of that year, and in a dream match, defeating Ric Flair to win his first WCW Championship at the Bash at the Beach Pay-Per View.

Hulk Hogan turns heal and forms the New World Order (nWo) 1996 – 1998

1996 would be a historic year for WCW and pro wrestling. WCW fans began booing Hogan. The Summer of 1996 at the Bash at the Beach Pay-Per View, WCW and Hogan would change the face of professional wrestling. During a six man tag, when Hogan came out from the back, fans in attendance and watching on pay-per view expected Hogan to save Sting, Lex Lugar and Randy Savage form Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, but instead he gave his famous leg drop on Savage, turned on the fans, joined with Hall and Nash, thus forming the New World Order. The very next night on Live on Monday Nitro from Disney World in Florida, Hogan came out sporting a new look. He dyed his beard black, wore black clothes, called himself “Hollywood” Hogan and told the fans to “stick it” The new faction would dominate WCW. During most of his nWo run, Hogan would hold the title belt on numerous occasions. He would spray paint the letter of N-W-O on the belt in black.

After Hogan took some time off, he returned on the January 4, 1999 edition of Monday Nitro in what was believed to be confirmation Hogan was out of the nWo. He challenged Kevin Nash for the WCW title. He regained the title in what was called the finger poke of doom, in which he poked Nash, and pinned him.

Real life conflicts with Vince Russo and his departure from WCW 1999 – 2000

In February 2000, Hogan became involved in a real life dispute with booker Vince Russo. Hogan was supposed to lose the WCW title to Jeff Jarrett at Bash at the Beach. Hogan refused to Job to Jarrett. As a result, Hogan filed a defamation of character lawsuit against Russo. Russo later claimed this was work, Hogan claimed it was a shoot, thus Hogan would leave WCW pending the lawsuit.

Hogan returns to the WWF/E 2002 – 2003

Hogan returned to the WWF/E in February of 2002 alongside Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to reform the New World Order. Soon after, Vince McMahon disbanded the nWo. Hogan took time off and returned as a babyface, having matches with The Rock, Triple H, Kurt Angle and Vince McMahon.

Later in 2003, Hogan would do a “Mr. America” gimmick, in which Hogan wore a mask to disguise himself after Hogan in a storyline was supposed to sit out the rest of his contract. On June 26, 2003 on SmackDown was the last of the “Mr. America” storyline as Hogan had already quit in real life and was released of his WWE contract and left the company.

Hulk Hogan Facts:

Hogan was named the most requested celebrity of the 1980’s for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Hogan was the first wrestler to win two Royal Rumble matches in a row.

The 1994 steroids scandal threatened the business of the WWF. Hogan testified in court he used steroids over a 12 year period.

Hogan had a brief run the defunct X Wrestling Federation from 2000-2001

Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005 as a 12 time World Champion

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, and

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